Joseph Okoh came to Ireland from Nigeria… – Immigrant Council of Ireland | Facebook

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Joseph Okoh came to Ireland from Nigeria in 2019 as a journalism student, eager to make a new life for himself and start a career. He chose Ireland because of the better press freedoms compared to Nigeria. He shared his story with The Irish Times as part of their New to the Parish column.

“I loved to write and speak and was passionate about social issues. I was also tired of seeing corruption in Nigeria and didn’t like how people were taken advantage of. For so long people in my country were being silenced so I decided to go into journalism. I didn’t just want to watch things happen, I wanted to bring issues to people’s attention.”

Arriving in Dublin, Joseph struggled to find a place to live like so many international students, but eventually found a room in Finglas and settled into his new life. He worked in warehouses up until the pandemic hit, when he took a job as a cleaner with Dublin Bus. In November he graduated from Griffiths College with his master’s degree in journalism and started looking for work.

It hasn’t been easy, Joseph says: “I’ve applied for jobs where I know I’m qualified and I see friends get calls but I never get called for interview. I don’t know whether to call it racism but I feel I need to work twice as a hard to get a job, it’s really frustrating. I keep applying but get no response. I keep asking myself, what else do I need to do?”

Joseph told the Times he’d hoped the lack of diversity in Irish media would mean more opportunity for him, but so far that hasn’t been the case. That along with the shooting death of George Nkencho and subsequent racist abuse against his family left Joseph feeling very disturbed and questioning the subject of racism in Ireland.

“I’ve always known Ireland to be welcoming but when I saw those things happen it broke my heart. People should really show more compassion to a family who are grieving. The death of George Nkencho has really opened my eyes to what parts of Ireland are like. I have a feeling the number of racists in Ireland is beginning to grow.”

“I just want Irish people to know we are human beings first. I’m convinced I can contribute to the Irish economy and I’m convinced of my talents. I feel with the number of applications I’ve sent out I should be getting more opportunities. It doesn’t have to be in front of the screen. I’ll do production too. I’ll work in any role.”

Joseph wants better representation in Irish media to more accurately reflect the modern multicultural Irish society. This is something we hear from migrants and something will continue to work towards by sharing stories like Joseph's.

You can read the original interview here: